Vegetable and Spirulina Soup

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I don’t know about any one else, but I’m over these colder, rainy Mandeville days and I’m ready for a warm Spring season to take over. That being said, I’m enjoying winter’s veggies in warm, soul comforting soups.

I got inspired on one rainy afternoon while sitting and thinking about my amazing grandfather who passed away in 2016; he would make the most bestest vegetable soup! So I thought I’d remake it my way and add some spirulina I got from my local vegan restaurant, Fancy Fruit here in Mandeville.

As I do with all my recipes, I rely on whatever I see when I walk into my garden and when I open my fridge door and I simply make do with what I have. I had callaloo and pak choi as greens and was hoping for some broccoli to roast and add as well but I’m going to have to get some for next time and trust me, there will be a next time; this soup was sooo good! I also had some potatoes which I added to give the soup some hardiness. Grandpa did his soup with pak choi and callaloo too but he never added potatoes (or spirulina) but as I said, this is my version.

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To make it warm and a bit spicy I added bird chillis, cumin seeds and coriander powder. My seasonings were quite simple, just your regular onion, sweet (bell) pepper, dried parsley leaves and garlic; I sauteed those in my fave organic, cold pressed coconut oil which we keep in this jar we had pickles in.

 

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After a quick saute over medium heat, I added the potatoes and got those a bit brown too before adding the greens and some garlic chili sauce, more salt and pepper and some water. Then it’s time to simmer the soup. I simmered with the lid on for about 10 minutes over medium/low heat; I really just waited for the potatoes to get tender.

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In the mean time I went hunting for goodies from my garden; I found peppermint to freshen up the soup, pumpkin blossoms because I had some beautiful ones in the garden that I knew would be so nice and delicate in the soup, I also found some orange blossoms which are slightly zesty and floral (mmmmm), so nice with the spices in the soup. I used these as garnish.

So when my potatoes got tender and the soup broth tasted just right with all the seasonings and flavours, I added everything to a blender and blended until smooth with some yummy almond milk.

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Then I added the spirulina, which by the way is packed with super vitamins like vitamins B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 plus more which are all great for immune health, energy, nerve and brain function, organ health etc. and nutrients like iron, magnesium, potassium… just oh my gosh, it’s so packed with a lot of goodies. It’s especially good for vegans who need extra protein ’cause it delivers on the protein!

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With this soup though, I added the salt sparingly since the spirulina which is literally from the sea has this beautiful, natural saltiness to it so I did my final seasoning after I added the spirulina.  I highly recommend you do the same. So after I added the spirulina, I blended the soup again and returned it to the pot over low heat, just to keep it warm.

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I tasted for final seasoning and then I served the soup in bowls and added all my garden goodies on top along with roasted almonds for texture, orange zest for extra zestiness and homemade, chunky tomato sauce, because fresh tomatoes go really well with the soup smile face. I know my Gramps would love it!

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I hope you guys make this yummy soup too to help soothe these last few winter days; you won’t regret it!

Vegetable and Spirulina Soup

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This soup is super soothing, super green and super healthy; perfect for cold, rainy evenings. Enjoy by candle light!

INGREDIENTS

coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 bird chilis, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon dried parsley leaves

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

3 small potatoes, diced

4 stalks Callaloo, chopped

6-7 pak choi leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce

4 cups water (or as needed)

1 cup almond milk (or as needed)

1 teaspoon spirulina powder

roasted almonds, as garnish

chopped pumpkin blossoms, as garnish

peppermint, as garnish

orange blossoms, as garnish

orange zest, as garnish

olive oil, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add the oil to a soup pot over medium heat. Add the first onions, garlic, chilis, bell pepper, dried  parsley leaves, cumin seeds and coriander to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes and fry for another 10 minutes. Add the greens and garlic chili sauce and saute a bit longer before adding the water.
  3. Simmer on a medium/low heat for about 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are fully cooked.
  4. Once the potatoes are tender, check the flavour profile. At this point the soup should be earthy, spicy and full of depth. Add a little salt.
  5. Transfer everything to a blender and blend on medium speed until smooth.
  6. Add the almond milk, blend again and lastly the spirulina. Blend just to incorporate.
  7. Transfer back to the pot over low heat, just to keep it warm. Test the flavour to ensure the salt level is good.
  8. Serve in bowls and add the garnishes on top.

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Homemade Granola

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Let’s face it, granola is yummy, it’s ‘snackable’ and its perfect as a breakfast cereal but it’s so overpriced. If you’re a fan of granola like me, then you know how much these things cost in the supermarket; but why buy it when you can make it?

I’ve been making my own granola for a while now and it is a very simple and easy process; the great thing is that you can make it now and jar some up for the rest of the week! This granola will keep 14 days or so, although mine has never lasted that long LOL. I also LOVE that granola can be customized and each time I make it, I try different flavours together and always end up with a delicious result.

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Today I’m gonna share with you my recipe for this week’s granola. I pretty much added a bunch of dried fruits, seeds and nuts that I had around my kitchen (awesome way to finish up that last bit if pumpkin seeds that’s been sitting there after I already popped open my new bag).

The backbone of this recipe is of course the oats, I mean, by now everyone should know about my love affair with oats; they are my favourite ‘fibrelicious’ breakfast pick-me-up meal and I’ll have them in pretty much any form smile face. Old fashioned, rolled oats are the only ones I use and if you can get them organic, that would be great!

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For this recipe, I got them mixed with honey, maple syrup, cinnamon and almond butter; you could eat it just like that and on many occasions, I have! But for the purpose of this recipe, try to hold back the urge for flaky oats coated in goodness. When I’ve got it nice and mixed, I kinda scrunch the oats up into, well, bunches I suppose and bake them low and slow for about 15-20 minutes. You could even toast them in a mini toaster over which is actually what I do most of the time.

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Once the bunches are all ready, crisp and crunchy, allow them to cool. Then it’s time to go through your kitchen emptying all the crumbs from the jar of nuts, seeds, the coconut flakes you had left over from the vegan coconut cake you baked, the raisins you bought for Christmas cake/pudding/fruit cake and anything else you have in your pantry that you can toss in. I like to load up but if you think less is more, feel free to add one or two… condiments? I’ll call them condiments, yes. Or you don’t have to add anything at all; you can bake the bunches and have them just like that.

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To mine though I added a myriad of dried fruits, coconut flakes, walnuts, and seeds I had on hand. BUT as you can clearly see, you can customize your granola to your taste. For breakfast purposes, I drown my granola in milk but I also enjoy filling a container with the cereal mix and snacking on them while working…perfect for keeping me full!

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Check out the full recipe below and make your own for breakfast!

Homemade Granola

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Super Easy
  • Print

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This is an amazing weekday breakfast option; make it Sunday and enjoy it every morning after.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups old fashion oats

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon maple syrup (vegans can use only

maple syrup at 3 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon almond butter

seeds (pumpkin, sunflower etc.)

dried fruits (apricots, raisins, dates etc.)

nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashew)

dried coconut flakes

milk (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat a toaster oven to 170°F or oven to 180°F.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment/grease paper.

3. Mix the first five ingredients together in a bowl and ensure that the oats come together when squeezed in your hand.

4. Empty the bowl on to the baking sheet and ‘bunch’ the oats together randomly.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bunch and hard and crispy.

6. Allow the granola to cool.

7. Mix with the condiments (dried fruits, seeds and nuts) and add to jars with tight lids to keep for about 14 days.

8. To enjoy, add milk or snack on them while work or play!

I hope you shine today! heart

 

 

 

Black Bean Burger Salad

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Do you know those days when you really want a burger but you’re on a gluten cleanse and you gotta work around the bread to get what you want? Well, maybe you’ve never had one of those days and actually, until this week I never had one of those days before either. But to fix my newfound dilemma, I did the simplest thing and made my burger into a salad! So here’s my recipe for the most bestest Black Bean Burger Salad.

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Main ingredient, black beans. I seasoned mine with onions, sweet pepper (bell pepper), garlic and lots of thyme, oh and of course salt and pepper too. First, I added my black beans to my food processor and pulsed; I used canned black beans and pulsed just enough to get it to come together but not so much that it was all mush, I like a little texture.

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I also added soy sauce to my burger mix, you know for that extra kick! After that, all I had to do was shape my burger “meat” into patties and brown them in a pan with oil. I used olive oil over medium heat and browned them until crispy; the best part is the crispy edged with the soft inside. Soo good! To finish the patty in the pan, I sliced artisan pepper jack cheese and melted it over top.

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Then for the salad, it’s fresh lettuce, yogurt sriracha dressing, pickled carrots and beets and a sprinkle of fresh thyme. For the pickles, I love the brainy flavour so I stack it up but go light if it’s not your thing.

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I’m telling you guys, it’s the best lunch! and if you’re looking for a light dinner, this hits the spot too, no doubt.

So if you ever happen to have one of these days or you just think this sounds and looks gosh darn good then check out the recipe below so you can make your own!

Black Bean Burger Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This one’s great for gluten free or bread-free days or diets and it’s super delish.

INGREDIENTS

1 can Black beans

1/2 Onions

1/2 Bell peppers

2 cloves garlic

3 sprigs thyme, plus extra

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

Pepper jack cheese (or vegan cheese)

Pickled beets, as needed

Pickled carrots, as needed

Yogurt (or sour cream)

Sriracha sauce

Fresh lettuce

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pulse the beans and the seasonings separately.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce and mix everything together.
  3. Shape the “meat” into patties and start browning them crispy in a pan with oil over medium heat.
  4. Once you flip the burger, add a slice of cheese on top and allow it to melt while the bottom browns.
  5. In the mean time, in a bowl mix some sriracha and yogurt together (to your taste), set aside and on a plate assemble lettuce leaves and lay the burger patty on top.
  6. Add the pickles on top and add the yogurt scriracha. Sprinkle the thyme on top.
  7. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart

 

 

 

Coffee Eggnog

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So Christmas has come and gone but that doesn’t mean we can’t live out the rest of the month in true Christmas style; in fact we should!

Eggnog is a Christmas favourite which I only make during these Holidays since I cheat and use granulated cane sugar and totally bypass the honey or maple syrup (see I can be a dare devil, ha ha). It’s full of nutmeg, its cinnamony, it’s boozey and super creamy coffee goodness!! The best part is you can have it warm or cold and it’s perfect either way.

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The recipe requires a bit of simmering, some whisking and a lot of fun. I made this Coffee Eggnog with Gordon who insisted on tasting the eggnog at each stage, by taking large spoon fulls and I couldn’t help but laugh at his definition of taste.

As per usual, my eggs, which are the main ingredient of course, are bought from my neighbour; have I ever shown you all the road to his farm?

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See that’s the road to organic goodness!

I take five eggs and separate the yolks from the whites, then cover the whites and stick them in the fridge. To the yolks I add sugar (I swear, after the holidays it’s back to honey and maple syrup) and while I got to whisking those together, Gordon added milk, brewed coffee and a cinnamon stick to a heavy bottom sauce pan.

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I whipped the yolks ’till they became pretty lighter in colour and sorta increased in size and got a little fluffy. By that time, the milk had started simmering and Gordon added tons of grated nutmeg to the it after shutting off the heat.

By the way, we made this while listening to Christmas songs, how cheesy are we? Ha ha! But who cares, it really does set the festive mood smile face.

So the milk is hot and the egg yolks are creamy; time to add the milk to the yolks. I whisked the yolks while Gordon slowly and steadily poured the milk in. You wanna go gentle and slow to prevent scrambling those yolks; once the yolk mixture gets hot, you can pour the rest of the milk in all at once. Then you wanna cool the mixture down. Best way to do this is with the bowl of eggnog on top of an ice bath but if it’s cool enough in your house, you can stir to cool it.

The kicker is the Sangster’s Rum Cream Coffee flavour. Just stir it in and drop the mike. I mean this stuff is that good! Refrigerate after that.

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When the eggnog is cold, pull out those egg whites and whip them to stiff peaks; it’s ready when you hold the bowl of whipped whites upside down and they don’t move. Mix this into the eggnog and pour into a jar and refrigerate until your’e ready to enjoy!

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Warm up your nog by gently heating it in a double boiler or just in a bowl over simmering water. I serve mine up with cinnamon sticks and extra ground coffee on top. Yummy! it’s so so good and between four persons, it’s finished within a day, so if your’e thinking of making this for more people, double up on the recipe!

Coffee Eggnog

  • Servings: 4 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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Creamy, delicious and perfect for the season! You cannot resist it.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups of milk

1 cup brewed coffee

1 cinnamon stick

5 egg yolks

2/3 cups granulated cane sugar

grated nutmeg (as much as you like)

1/2 cup Sangster’s Coffee Rum Cream.

5 egg whites

ground coffee (optional)

cinnamon sticks (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS
1. To 2 cups of milk add 1 cup brewed coffee and 1 cinnamon stick, bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2. In a bowl add 5 egg yolks to 2/3 cups granulated cane sugar and whisk until the mixture is light and pale yellow in colour.
3. Slowly whisk in the hot milk (cinnamon stick removed) and add grated nutmeg (as much as you like).
4. Allow the mixture to cool before refrigerating (either over a cold water bath or by stirring until cool). Add 1/2 cup Sangster’s Coffee Rum Cream.
5. Refrigerate for a few hours (until cold).
6. Before serving, whisk 5 egg whites to stiff peaks and stir into the mixture.
7. Enjoy cold or warm in a bain marie. Serve with ground coffee on top and a cinnamon stick.

Okra and Egg Curry with Quinoa

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Christmas dinner for a veggie lover can be a bit daunting; turkey here, chicken there and ham everywhere. What’s there for us to eat?

For me, I like to keep it simple with big, bold flavours; that means Indian. So today I’m sharing one of my favourite Christmas dinner main dishes that’s sure to satisfy both meat and veggie lovers, my Okra and Egg Curry with Quinoa. Oh, and for those who are hosting vegetarian guests this Christmas and are absolutely clueless about what to make, I’ve got you sorted!

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Main ingredient, okra. If you’ve read my blog post about my okra fritters, you’ll know that this is one of my favourite veggies that sadly get a bad rep here in Jamaica for being super slimy and just not appetizing. BUT, okra doesn’t have to be that way at all. It’s actually crunchy and delicious when prepared correctly and has zero slime. Make sure the okras you use are firm, bright, green and of course fresh! I use organic ones that I’ve planted myself but pretty much all the okras here on the island are organically grown, so it’s super easy to get your hands on the good stuff, which is AWESOME!

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For the curry, I use my grandmother’s curry blend which is five star, top notch stuff. I mean, you can’t get the stuff anywhere else; well actually, you could get something pretty similar in May Pen Market in Clarendon so go pick up your own!

When you cook with this curry, you’ll see flecks of the spices coated on whatever you’ve made; the sign of quality. So first step is to saute some onion, garlic and tomatoes in coconut oil and curry. Oh by the way, coconut oil is the way to go for this recipe- remember the rule, if coconuts are grown in the country of the dishes’ origin, use coconut oil!

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I pretty much let this fry ’till the onions are crisp, then I add the sliced okras and season with salt and pepper. You wanna fry this until the okras become a bit crispy too, this helps to eliminate the slime.

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Then it’s time to add water.
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In the mean time I boil my quinoa by simply following the instructions on the package and boil my eggs to hard boil. These just hang out until I’m ready for ’em.

You wanna turn the okras down to medium heat and simmer until the okras are tender but firm and the curry reduces a bit. At this point, cut add the eggs and have them simmer in the curry. The whites will turn bright yellow to almost match the yolks. You want the curry to be thicken but still thin and definitely you need to have enough curry sauce (gravy) to spoon over the quinoa.

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I like to finish with a squeeze of lime after I shut the heat off. I stir, readjust my seasoning and serve over quinoa.

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The slightly spicy curry is the perfect warming sensation for this colder weather and is a great additional to any Christmas dinner menu; your veggie friends will love you for it!!

Okra and Egg Curry with Quinoa

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This Christmas dinner entree is one for the veggie lovers and just perfect for this cold Winter climate.

INGREDIENTS

24 okras, sliced

1 yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (preferably from May Pen Market or your Indian grandmother)

salt and pepper, to taste

coconut oil

1/2-2/3 cups water

2 eggs, hard boiled

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked (follow instruction on package)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To a dutch pot or kadai, add a few tablespoons of coconut oil and 1 teaspoon of the curry powder.
  2. Allow this to get hot but do not burn the spices. Add the onions, garlic and tomatoes.
  3. Fry these until the onions are crispy.
  4. At this point, add the okras and season with salt, pepper and the remainder of the curry powder.
  5. Saute these on high heat, this helps to eliminate the slime. I wait until a crust forms on the okra as a result of the spices and seasonings.
  6. Add the water and lower the heat to medium and simmer with the lid off.
  7. Let the curry reduce a bit for about 5 minutes and add the, sliced, cooked eggs.
  8. Reduce for another 5-7 minutes. The okras should be cooked but firm (and not slimy).
  9. Shut off the heat and add a squeeze of lime. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  10. To serve, spoon some quinoa on a plate and pile the okra and egg curry on top. You can also mix the quinoa with the curry to make a okra quinoa bowl.

 

 

 

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies

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Fall in love with my Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies this Christmas! Cozy up in your favourite Christmas sweater with a glass of spiced milk and these soft and chewy cookies.

It was super rainy over the weekend so of course our Mandeville temperature dropped to a ‘low’ 64°F  which for me is the perfect excuse to throw on a chunky sweater and curl up with the family; in that moment it dawned on me, Christmas is here!! So I decided to make some Christmasy cookies with our most beloved Christmas ingredient here on the island; sorrel.

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So if you’re from North America and parts of Europe, you’ll probably think I’m talking about that herb you use in salads but our sorrel is nothing like that. It’s actually a fruit-like flower that some people might refer to as hibiscus. We use it primarily to make a boozy drink around the holiday season which every one is permitted to gulp down, including kids! Kinda crazy, I know but usually a batch without alcohol is made for the kids and those who don’t drink.

Recently I discovered these dried, candied sorrel at the supermarket (you can also find them on Amazon) which I snack on or add to salads; this weekend they were added to my cookies!

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So to make these, its quite simple and perfect to make with your kids, nieces and nephews, grandchildren and the list goes on. I went all out on these and didn’t skim on the things that make cookies really… amazing. I added organic cane sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, butter and of course salt and baking soda.

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First step, whisk the sugar and butter together.

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Second step, add the flour mixture.

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Third step, add the oats and sorrel.

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Fourth step, refrigerate if your kitchen is warm, don’t if it’s cool.

Fifth step, bake.

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Easy, right! Before I add them to the oven, I add a sprinkle of oats on top for texture and crunch. You have to use whole, old fashioned oats, it just won’t be the same with the processed stuff. I pull these out of the oven when they are golden brown and the middle is still soft. You wanna let them cool before you remove them from the pan, although you don’t have to wait ’till they cool completely, just enough so you can touch them. I continue cooling mine on a cooling rack.

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When they cool I grab a glass of milk that I add nutmeg to and chow down. My mom likes to have her cookies warm and it’s pretty good with the cold milk, definitely something to try.

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If you make these cookies, leave a comment and let me know how you liked it!

Oatmeal Sorrel Cookies

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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These are the perfect Christmas time cookies and a great alternative to the well-known gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies; get the kids to help out on this one!

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup butter (organic and unsalted), softened

3/4 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon milk or almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried candied sorrel

1/2 cup whole, old fashioned oats (plus extra)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Using a mixer or whisk, cream the sugar and butter together until smooth and fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift the dried ingredients, the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add gradually to the creamed butter mixture and mix just enough to combine.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla extract and whisk in.
  6. Add the sorrel and oats and switching to a rubber spatula, mix the sorrel and oats in to form a smooth, soft dough.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes if you are in a hot environment, you can skip this step if your kitchen is cool.
  8. Remove from the refrigerator and roll into balls and place them on a butter or parchment lined cookie sheet.
  9. Press down the ball slightly and sprinkle extra oats on top.
  10. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the middle is still soft.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before transporting the cookies to a cooling rack.
  12. Enjoy with a glass of milk!

 

 

Gingery Cucumber Salad

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My fiance Gordon recently introduced me to a cucumber salad recipe that has got me hooked! It is deceptively simple since it packs such a punch but has literally 6 ingredients (including salt and pepper). I’m won’t dilly dally for much longer, so let get into it.

Cucumbers. These are of course the main ingredients in this fresh salad so what’s the first rule? That’s right, use fresh ingredients; this is so so important. Make sure your cucumbers are fresh and firm and deep green in colour. I like a crisp, yet flavourful cucumber, that just slightly bursts with juices once you bite in. This is the sorta cucumber you need for this recipe.

I got mine from my grandmother who got it from a family friend who plants cucumbers; I love getting veggies as gifts haha, they’re the best kind. I’ve also got a small patch of cucumbers growing nearby my house that’s sorta run it’s growth course so I haven’t been able to harvest from my community… thank God for family friends!

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“You have to cut the cucumbers thin, that’s the trick to this recipe”, that’s what my naturally gifted fiance let me know the first time we made this salad together; and so, I pass this on to you all, it really is quite important. You sorta end up marinating the cucumbers in the ginger, mustard and honey so having the cucumbers thin helps the flavours to get together super easy.

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So yea, you’re pretty much done at this point. Add some dried (not powdered) ginger, that’s the ginger you get when you totally forgot you had ginger and it got all shriveled, yeah, don’t throw that out, it’s actually got a nice flavour. Throw in some grainy mustard too, some honey and season with salt and pepper and you’ve got the perfect side salad for any meal.

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best

The best thing about this salad is the flavour; Gordon and I both agree that it tastes just like the ‘fake’ wasabi you get in Japanese restaurants but more fresh and less harsh, which we just love!

Check this recipe out if you’re looking for a super simple salad with surprising flavours, oh and also if you like wasabi. Drop me a comment if you made it, let me know how you liked it!

Gingery Cucumber Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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If you’re trapped for time or you just don’t wanna be in the kitchen for hours, here’s the perfect side salad with a punch!

INGREDIENTS

2 large cucumbers

1 1/2 tablespoons grainy mustard

1/2 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried ginger, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Slice the cucumbers thinly. Add them to a bowl.

2. Add the other ingredients and toss everything together. Serve as a fresh, side salad.

I hope you shine today!heart

Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

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Who doesn’t love a good flatbread?

A couple weeks ago I had the urge to make a flatbread with fresh bammy. If you aren’t from Jamaica, you might not know what bammy is, so here goes my description; bammy is finely grated cassava (a root vegetable, like yam), that’s been beaten, dried and formed into thin bread, then baked. It’s Jamaica’s flatbread and it’s sooo good!

My grandparents used to make bammies back in the day when they had the strength to, cause let’s face it, it takes a lot of energy to grate and beat the hell out of the cassava. They had a pestle and mortar, which was actually a hollowed out tree trunk that they would beat the cassava in. The old grate they used to grate the cassava on still stands tall today and we use it to grate coconuts and the like.

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Nowadays we get our bammies from family friends in St. Elizabeth who bake them fresh. I like to crisp my bammy up in a dry hot pan when I get it and that’s exactly what I did with the bammies for this recipe.

Like many of my recipes, I made this one with the items I had on hand and in my garden. I made a carrot puree that went on top of the bammy by simple pureeing cooked carrots with some salt, pepper, almond milk and a pinch of turmeric. The puree was smooth and delicate and surprisingly tasty! I added roasted beets and roasted zucchini on top of that and crunchy pumpkin seeds.

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The best topping of all is the fried pumpkin blossom. I picked some blossoms from my pumpkin patch, stuffed them with organic cream cheese, breaded them in breadcrumbs and fried them lightly in olive oil… OMG it’s so so good. If i had enough of these, I’d fry them up and snack on them all day long! If you take one thing away from this flatbread recipe, let it be this.

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I finished the flatbread off with a drizzle of olive oil, sliced it up and shared it with my mom and Gordon. It’s the perfect lunch time snack that is fast replacing my favourite overnight oats.

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Carrot and Zucchini Flatbread

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: moderate
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This is a great flatbread that’s perfect for a lunch snack and it’s super tasty!

INGREDIENTS

2 fresh bammies

1 1/2 carrots

1/2 cup almond milk

a pinch of turmeric

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 zucchini

1 roasted beet

4 pumpkin blossoms

2 tablespoons organic cream cheese

1 pinch dried herbs

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

olive oil

pumpkin seeds

limes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a hot pan, crisp up the bammies to create a crust on both sides. Set aside.
  3. Slice carrot and boil until tender.
  4. Slice zucchini, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in the oven until cooked.
  5. Place beet in foil paper, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and roast in oven as well.
  6. When the carrots are soft, puree them in a blender with the almond milk, salt, pepper and turmeric. Puree until smooth and velvety.
  7. Preheat a pan with some olive oil over medium heat.
  8. To the cream cheese, add any dried herbs you have on hand and mix it together.
  9. Stuff the pumpkin blossoms with the cream cheese mixture and roll them in the breadcrumbs.
  10. Fry the stuffed blossoms in the heated oil until crispy and golden brown. When done, transfer the blossoms to a paper towel to drain.
  11. Once the zucchini and beets are tender, remove them from the oven. Slice the beets in desired shape.
  12. To the bammy, add some carrot puree. Top with the vegetables and the fried blossoms.
  13. Add the pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Garnish with lime.
  14. Slice the flatbread and enjoy.

 

Banana Turmeric Lassi

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So it’s flu season and I’ve got an antioxidant packed , vitamin rich, super healthy and all round delicious lassi for you! This Indian smoothie is sure to keep you safe this flu season and the warm spices will give you that holiday feeling, that’s if you’re not already wearing Christmas sweaters and drinking hot chocolate or sorrel as we do here in Jamaica.

So what’s a lassi? To all who have no clue, I like to liken a lassi to a smoothie; an Indian smoothie. But, it’s really a beverage made with milk, yogurt and spices and sometimes fruit. Fruit lassis are my absolute favourite- I love it with mangoes, oranges, berries and of course bananas! If you are new to my blog, you wouldn’t know that I go bananas for bananas, now you do; they are my ride or die fruit. smile face

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I’ve got dozens of banana tree in my back yard so I’ve always got bananas. My motto is “no banana left behind”, so when there are just too many to eat, I pack them in the freezer and save them for smoothies, gluten free pancakes, cakes, lassis and the like! For this recipe, frozen bananas are best.

Although this lassi is pretty ‘bananary’, I must say that the top ingredients that makes this beverage really sing are the ginger, turmeric and cardamom (oh and they also make this undeniably Indian and so so right for this cooler weather, or cold weather depending on where you are). Not the mention how amazing these spices are; got a bit of gas? Cardamom. Got a cold or the flu? Turmeric. Got a bit of motion sickness? Ginger. Yup, this lassi has got it all and then some!

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I chose to make these lassis with almond milk to keep it a bit lighter but if you wanna go traditional and you aren’t against milk haha, then go for that whole milk experience, you will end up with super fluffy, super smooth lassis. Add some yogurt too, that’ll give that much needed tang to your lassi; I love the tang! It helps to cut right through the spices, which are pretty… in your face. Oh, I also love adding orange zest to help brighten the flavours. If you’ve got super over ripened bananas, you don’t need to add honey but if your bananas are just ripe and you want that touch of sweetness, go ahead and add honey to taste; this recipe really didn’t need it; my bananas where very sweet!

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Lassis are very simple and easy to make, I drop all my ingredients into my blender and wizz away! The result is this smooth, refreshing, spiced and comforting lassi that’ll definitely help fight off any flu! I garnished mine with cinnamon and dried, edible flowers from my mom’s garden which sends this beautiful, sweet scent up from the lassi once you turn your glass to your head, It’s one of my favourite parts of enjoying this lassi and it looks so pretty! smile face

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Please let me know if you try this one! It’s a must have this flu season.

Banana Turmeric Lassi

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS

3 frozen bananas

1 small knob ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 pods cardamom, seeds removed

2 heaping spoons of yogurt (about 1 cup)

3 1/2 cups milk of your choice

1/2 teaspoon Orange zest

cinnamon, if desired

dried, edible flowers, if desired

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Slice the frozen bananas and the knob of ginger, add them to the blender.
  2. Add the turmeric, cardamom seeds, yogurt, milk and orange zest.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into glasses and garnish with cinnamon and dried flowers.
  5. Enjoy!

Thai-Style Pasta Curry

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Sundays are the day when I love to go all out in the kitchen, I have so much time to experiment, mix and match and whip up one of those everything but the kitchen sink recipes; last Sunday wasn’t one of those Sundays. I was so wiped out from adventuring the day before that all I could manage to do was make something simple and comforting.

Enter my Thai-Style Pasta Curry. I crafted this recipe out of my love for pasta and Thai-style curry (by the way, that curry gets mixed with pretty much everything in my kitchen so pasta is just one of many accompaniments to this curry). This recipe is super easy to follow and will make a great weeknight meal! So without further adieu, let’s get into it.

Lemongrass. Oh lemongrass. One of my favourite ingredients, especially in Thai foods. In Jamaica you can actually find lemongrass growing wild in one large patch; we often use it here to make teas but I love cooking with it! Gordon has a huge patch growing at his house and he has been my supplier whenever I’m in need of lemongrass.

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But honestly, all the ingredients in this curry work beautifully together and are pretty much on an equal level; I also added turmeric, onion, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, bird peppers (tiny chilis that pack a serious punch) and coconut milk that makes everything harmonize on your palate.

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I used my favourite kitchen tool, my pestle and mortar to smash all my ingredients together (besides my coconut milk and lemongrass) to make a paste. Once I had it all smooth and pastey, I added fresh, cut tomatoes and smashed the paste some more.

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Then I took it all over to a heated pan with coconut oil. This goes pretty quickly from here! I sauteed the paste over medium heat until the liquid in the paste reduces.

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You might wanna add a bit more oil to the pan before the next step of adding more onions and garlic. Fresh garlic and onion adds to the texture contrast of the curry and I just love biting into sweet sauteed onions!

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At this point you wanna boil your pasta. I used farfalle pasta but any short, medium cut pasta will do. You wanna cook your pasta a little under done only because you’ll be finishing it off in the curry but you have to watch for ‘cooked’ pasta that’s too raw since we won’t be cooking it in the pasta for too long; so cook the pasta until a little shy of al dente or ‘to the tooth’.

Once the onions and garlic are sauteed and slightly browned, I added the coconut milk and a pinch of salt for seasoning along with the lemon grass. On low heat I let this simmer until all the flavours come together; this can take up to 15-20 minutes. At this point I check the flavour every 5 minutes or so and season as needed.

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Once the curry is done I added the pasta and tossed it in the curry before adding a bunch of chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and lime zest.

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I finished the dish with a few coriander leaves and sat down to a quiet Sunday dinner.

The best part about this recipe is that the sauce can be made before hand and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezers for 1-2 weeks. All you’d need to do is add the pasta and heat!

If you end up whipping this up, drop a comment and let me know how it turned out!

Thai-Style Pasta Curry

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

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This is an easy to follow recipe that’s great for weekdays!

INGREDIENTS

4 cups short, medium cut pasta

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 small onion

1 knob ginger

2-3 bird pepper or chilis

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 medium tomatoes, diced

coconut oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups coconut milk

salt and pepper, to taste

2-3 stalks lemongrass, smashed

1 bunch coriander leaves, plus more for garnishing

1 lime, zested

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Chop the onion and ginger and place them in a pestle and mortar.
  2. Add the spices and chilis to them and smash everything to a smooth paste.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and smash some more.
  4. In a heated pan over medium heat, add coconut oil and heat.
  5. Saute the paste in the oil for about 10 minutes or until the liquid reduces.
  6. Add a bit more oil and saute the 1/2 onion with the two cloves of garlic. Allow them to get slightly browned.
  7. Cook pasta a little under done.
  8. Pour in the coconut milk and stir the curry. Add lemongrass and salt to taste and lower heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes.
  9. Once the curry has reduced, add the cooked pasta and toss it in the curry, coating all the pasta continue to cook the pasta in the sauce for about 5 minutes.
  10. Turn off the heat and add freshly chopped coriander leaves and lime zest.
  11. Toss the pasta again.
  12. Serve hot with more coriander leaves. Enjoy!

I hope you shine today!heart